Issue: October 2021

From the Editor: Learning to Share

From the Editor: Learning to Share

As some of the people who have been part of the commercial fishing industry on the West Coast for a length of time can attest to, it’s not just luck and Mother Nature that fishermen and women have to contend with while plying their trade, but sometimes furry and winged creatures, as well. And with so much competition for fish within the animal kingdom, particularly sockeye salmon returning from the ocean, sometimes there isn’t enough to go around for everyone, as some parties take more than their fair share. Such a scenario led to the Wuikinuxv (pronounced “Oh-wee-key-no”) Nation indigenous people on the coast of British Columbia teaming up with scientists to collaborate on how to strike a balance between the needs of people and the needs of grizzly bears when divvying up the annual supp...
GAO Urged to Review Delay of Coast Guard Vessel Deliveries

GAO Urged to Review Delay of Coast Guard Vessel Deliveries

A U.S. House committee looking into significant delivery delays of offshore patrol and polar security cutters to the U.S. Coast Guard has asked the Government Accountability Office to review the situation, as well as related budgetary issues. Given the significant budgetary commitment from Congress, the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard have made for the Offshore Patrol Cutters program to date, continued oversight is necessary to ensure that the program does not continue to experience cost growth or additional schedule delays, according to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Committee chair Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR, and ranking member Rep. Sam Graves, R-MO, told GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro that the Offshore Patrol Cutter fleet, the larges...
Catch Processing Tech Continues to Evolve in the Face of COVID-19

Catch Processing Tech Continues to Evolve in the Face of COVID-19

In an unprecedented year, catch processing companies have strived to continue innovating in spite of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. And catch processing, while less technologically complex than other aspects of the marine industry, has historically been a major source of innovation. Heading machines, plate freezers, pinboning machines, de-licing and portioning equipment have all been the beneficiaries of technological advances over the past few years. Many vessels have begun to integrate these technologies on-board, with installations of catch processing technology into more and more ships. Although catch processing has become more difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic — which stymied global trade and limited access to customers and suppliers — companies have still managed t...
U.S./Canadian Coast Guards Collaborate on Search-and-Rescue Training

U.S./Canadian Coast Guards Collaborate on Search-and-Rescue Training

U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard crews came together near Resolute Bay in Nunavut, Canada, in early September for a search and rescue exercise to ensure future readiness to assist both nations in rescue operations and to protect marine resources. “Training alongside our Canadian partners while underway in the Arctic during a historic circumnavigation of North America is a great example of enhancing our interoperability and mission capabilities,” said U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz, as the Coast Guard cutter Healy transited the Northwest Passage, in support of oceanographic research critically important in this Arctic region. “Seeing the members of the Canadian Coast Guard work hand in hand with their counterparts from the Healy has been inspiring,” said Canadian Coast Guard...
Balsiger to Retire from NOAA Fisheries  Alaska Region

Balsiger to Retire from NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region

Veteran NOAA regional administrator Jim Balsiger says there was a time when he had no plans to ever hold a fish in his hands for research.  He had, in fact, set out for a career in forestry, but for a turn of events that found him doing modeling for a salmon management project in Bristol Bay on the way to getting a doctorate in quantitative ecology and natural resources management from the University of Washington. That led ultimately to a 46-and-a-half year career with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where for the last 21 years Balsiger has served as regional administrator for the Alaska Region of NOAA Fisheries. “What a wonderful, unexpected career I’ve had,” he said during an interview after announcing his plans to retire at the end of November. Balsiger bega...
Peter Pan Seafoods Implements COVID Vaccine Mandate

Peter Pan Seafoods Implements COVID Vaccine Mandate

Peter Pan Seafoods has begun requiring employees to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus for the protection of themselves and communities in which they work. “Our team often works in close quarters and in remote communities with limited access to health care resources, Rodger May, president and chief growth officer, explained as the seafood processing company implemented the requirement on Sept. 1. “This is the best way I know to keep them and the communities we work in as healthy as possible.” The COVID-19 policy has gone into effect in tiers, according to the company, with the first tier including employees at corporate headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., the Seattle warehouse and processing and support facilities at Valdez, Port Moller, Dillingham Sand Point and Naknek. All but...
Sonoma County Hatchery Coho Salmon Relocated to Avoid Heat Stress

Sonoma County Hatchery Coho Salmon Relocated to Avoid Heat Stress

Some 4,000 California hatchery juvenile coho salmon were relocated from the Warm Springs Fish Hatchery at Geyserville in July and August to a conservation facility at a high school in Petaluma for rearing until conditions improve. A spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said on Aug. 23 that they are hopeful that drought and poor water conditions at Lake Sonoma will improve enough to allow them to truck the fish back to the hatchery before year’s end. Beginning in late spring, rising water temperatures at Warm Springs Hatchery increased the risk of heat stress and pathogen outbreaks. Scientists developed the relocation plan as a precaution to keep the hatchery coho safe. CDFW acting regional manager Stacy Sherman said the agency has a vested interest in seeing...
Bristol Bay Cannery Added  to National Register of Historic Places

Bristol Bay Cannery Added to National Register of Historic Places

A historic salmon cannery on the shores of South Naknek in Bristol Bay, Alaska that operated almost continuously from 1895 to 2015, is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Diamond NN Cannery, established on the shores of South Naknek by the Alaska Packers Association and now owned by Trident Seafoods, began as a saltery in 1890. In 1895, the facility was converted into a cannery which went on to operate for over 100 years, according to Bob King, former dean of Alaska’s fisheries writers, who now lives in Juneau. Most of some other 60 canneries spread over the region for decades fell way short of that record of service, King said. “They fell apart, runs changed, the technology changes, they didn’t need as any canneries, but this is one of the earliest starting, l...
UFA Director Leaving to Become Lobbyist

UFA Director Leaving to Become Lobbyist

United Fishermen of Alaska Executive Director Frances Leach is leaving the statewide umbrella group for commercial fishing entities at year’s end to begin a new career as a lobbyist in Juneau. Her new firm, CapitolCompass, is already signing up clients, but will not perform any actual work for them as a lobbyist or in strategic planning until after Jan. 1, 2022, she said. Her new website is www.capitolcompass.com. It’s a move that Leach, who grew up in a commercial fishing family in Southeast Alaska, said she is eager for. “I like being able to advocate, especially for things I am really passionate about,” she said. Even as a child she was always politically engaged she said, although she never wanted to be an actual politician. “I am very passionate about sustainability (in fisheri...
Salmonfest 2021 Proves a Pandemic Survivor

Salmonfest 2021 Proves a Pandemic Survivor

In the midst of a pandemic showing no sign of retreat, some 7,000 people gathered at Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik the first weekend in August to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Salmonfest, the three-day music festival supporting salmon related causes. The family-oriented festivities, with over 60 bands on four stages, featured a new main amphitheater with twice the space of the old one, to allow all those who wanted to space for social distancing while listening to top musicians, ranging from Greensky Bluegrass, Sarah Jarosz and The High Hawks to Con Brio and the Lowdown Brass Band. Along with vendors hawking art, jewelry, clothing, pottery and an eclectic array of food, Salmonfest 2021 featured the Salmon Causeway, where guests could learn from various conservat...